I know, what kind of self-professed traveler needs a checklist to remind himself what to pack? This one does, but it’s probably not what you’re thinking. No, I don’t have a checklist with items on it like toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, etc., but you better believe I have one for the various medications and supplies I need to treat my diabetes. As many of you know, I have Type 1 Diabetes, the kind that used to be known as “juvenile” or “insulin dependent.” I manage my diabetes through the use of an insulin pump.
Insulin pumps require a handful of supplies to keep them functional like infusion sets (the tube and needle through which the insulin flows from the pump to the body), reservoirs (where the insulin is stored while in the pump), and spare AAA batteries (to power the pump). Of course, there are vials of insulin, and even spare syringes in case the pump should fail and I need to go back on injections (has never occurred). As you might imagine, I’m a walking magnet for questions from TSA. Incidentally, my pump, which certainly has some metal in it, rarely sets off the walk through metal detector. That doesn’t stop TSA from accosting me from time to time and wasting security resources on ensuring I’m not a threat.
After 15 years of diabetes, I’ve only forgotten something I needed twice, and each time I was able to resolve things pretty easily. The second instance was enough to inspire me to create a traveling checklist for my diabetes. What’s on my travel checklist? Here ya’ go:
- Note: Figure out how much you think need for your trip, then increase that by at least 25 percent. Traveling internationally? Double it!
- Spare syringes
- Insulin pump reservoirs
- Infusion sets
- Spare AAA batteries
- Spare test strips/glucose meter
- Alcohol swabs/antiseptic prep
- All other medications
Pretty simple and to the point, but I refer to it each time I travel, whether for 2 nights away or 15. Seriously, there is no feeling quite so sinking as arriving somewhere away from home only to realize that you left your vial of insulin on the credenza at home! I carry most all of that in 2 Biz Class amenity kits from past trips on American Airlines. They are modular, fit nicely in my briefcase, and can cover a 4-night business trip pretty easily.
These work really well for carrying supplies, and there are any number of other options you can use to accomplish the same. If traveling for a long period of time, I obviously have to make other arrangements, and pack more supplies in various places. I find that having a checklist helps ensure that I have the medical “stuff” I need to travel successfully and enjoy life in spite of having diabetes. I recommend a similar checklist for my fellow diabetic travelers, and I suppose the same advice applies to other medical conditions as well. Of course, if you need a checklist to remind you to bring your toothbrush, make one! Travel well!